If we want to set our children up for academic success, every child should learn to code. Coding for kids not only helps improve their mathematics and writing skills but also gives them valuable skills in life and eventually in the workforce. There are various reasons why coding is important to learn and why coding should be taught in schools from an early age. The early children learn to code, the better their chance at success.
What is coding?
Put simply, Coding is the a method of communicating with a computer. It is using a language that a computer understands to give a computer instructions in order to perform specific functions. Coding allows us to create things such as computer software, websites, apps and video games.
There are various types of different code, depending on what you want to develop. And different “programming languages” that each have their own set of rules. But basically, coding is giving instructions to a computer in order to produce a desired outcome.
But why is it important to learn how to code?
Why should kids learn coding? There are so many reasons to learn coding – from problem-solving skills, job opportunities, critical thinking, and creativity, there are so many reasons to learn programming. Let’s review why kids should learn to code.
1. Programming helps children learn to problem-solve
Understanding computers and learning the basics of coding helps children to develop an appreciation of how things work. It also teaches them how software engineers use math in order to solve problems in a logical and creative way. This is an important reason that coding should be taught in schools, so children learn these skills while they are young.
The ability to solve problems is a trait that is useful in life in general. We all want our children to become excellent problem solvers so that they can overcome any adversity they face. Learning to code gives children the chance to learn this type of skill while they are young and it can help them along the way in life. This is one of the big reasons coding is important to learn.
2. Computer programming gives kids a challenge and helps them develop resilience
When children learn to code, they develop the ability to bounce back after failure. They learn that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in fact, it can often be something positive because it serves as a learning opportunity. This is one of the most important reasons why kids should code, as they will learn quickly that ‘debugging’ your code is half the fun.
When you fail and try again you can learn from your mistakes. Coding gives children the ability to try and try again until they succeed and produce the result they are looking for.
3. Coding teaches children how to think
“ A computer is a bicycle for your mind” – Steve Jobs
Learning to code teaches children how to think. Computer programming isn’t just about teaching how to type lines of code. It is more about teaching children how to think differently. Being able to code effectively, a programmer needs to use logical thinking. They need to be able to see a large problem and break it down into smaller pieces in order to solve it in an effective manner. This is called decomposition and is one of the key features of computational thinking.
Children learning code will need to take a vague idea and use their creativity to turn it something effective. If the first solution doesn’t work, they try another one. If that one doesn’t work, they try again until the problem is solved. Coding helps to develop this way of thinking and these types of thinking skills are highly sought after.
4. A child expands their creativity when they learn how to code
Coding is important to learn because computer programming teaches children to experiment and gives them the confidence to be creative. They will have the chance to design something that is entirely their own. Children thrive off of the feedback they get from creating something they love. Just like learning a language, or to play a musical instrument, children need motivation. Usually seeing results along the way is enough to cultivate this, and this is what happens when children learn to code.
Because coding is easy to pick up, for children especially, confidence comes easily. When children learn how to code it gives them the opportunity to be confident and create something in a fun and exciting way.
5. Computer programming is the future
When you look at how the world is developing, coding is an extremely useful skill to possess. There are an increasing number of businesses who rely on computer code, not just those in the technology sector.
A child who learns how to code will have the advantage in life with more employment opportunities available to them in the future, no matter which industry they decide to enter whether it be in the technology sector, finance, retail, health or other. This is an important reason why coding should be taught in schools.
6. There is a lack of skills in the software industry
Experienced computer programmers are in demand and with the advancement of technology, there are increasing career opportunities arising every day. Employees who can code are the future and are highly sought after in any industry.
Because qualified computer programmers are hard to come by, their salaries can be at a high level. If children learn to code at a young age, their experience starts young and they are more likely to grow up with an interest in the software industry, therefore contributing to our future.
7. Coding helps children learn how to play with math
Coding is the language of maths. Imagine coding being taught in every school? Learning to program involves many skills including organizing and analyzing data. Children can grow their math skills while coding, without even realizing it. Using their logic and calculation skills while creating something of their own can make maths more engaging and fun. Another big reason coding should be taught in schools.
8. Coding is another language.
Language teaches children how to communicate and teaches logical thinking. Language also strengthens both verbal and written skills. Children should be exposed to different languages at an early age. It helps them to understand the world around them better. Coding has a language all its own. Every letter in the Alphabet has a special formula of 0’s and 1’s that represent it. These 0’s and 1’s give the technology around us directions on how to perform. What better way for our children to understand why and how the technology around them operates than by learning to code and speaking to the technology around them.
9. Coding helps children become confident problem solvers.
As they learn to code and give direction, they learn that there is no one way to do something even if their way didn’t work. They can improve upon what they have already done without worrying about failing. Coding is a basic literacy in the digital age, and kids need to understand and work with and understand the technology around them.
Having children learn coding at a young age prepares them for the future. Coding helps children with communication, creativity, math, writing, and confidence.
10. Coding is fun and satisfying
While programming is logic-based, it’s also an extremely creative activity. If you have the skills, you can develop the aforementioned apps, code games, websites, and more!
Partly adopted from teachyourkidscode.com
Initiatives for coding in Uganda
In Uganda, there are many organizations that are promoting coding for children right from Primary School, such as Makerere Innovation Society, Mindset Coders, Africa Code Week and Future Code Club.
During the current lockdown period, there are several free coding programs that have been going on. You can visit this link: bit.ly/creativekidz for details on how you can get involved. Registration for COHORT 4 is on!